A family walking along the Kaslo River Trail hides out with one of the newly installed Koots figures playing hide-and-seek. Photo: John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Kaslo art exhibit invites you to play in the forest

Hide and seek on the Kaslo River Trail

By John Boivin

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A game of hide-and-seek that could last centuries has just begun along the Kaslo River Trail.

About 30 people showed up on Sept. 6 for the ‘start’ of the game, which features some very patient participants.

‘Hide and Seek’ is the latest installation of the ‘Discover the Koots’ series of sculptures, the creation of a trio of artists from Argenta – Yvonne Boyd, Christopher Petersen and Spring Shine.

“We figured the Kaslo River Trail is a really perfect place to have it,” says Boyd. “It’s just outside of town, it’s in a really beautiful setting, and it’s an easy walk for families, which is exactly what our goal is, to have them in places like that.”

‘Hide and Seek’ features a series of installations along the beautiful Kaslo River Trail, eight in all. Full figures, or just heads, and sometimes a mix of both can be found peeking out from rock faces, hidden behind boulders or stationed right along the trail.

The installation is both a work to be enjoyed and an invitation for anyone who’s ever played in the woods to join in the fun.

“We were walking along here, and just admiring the rocks,” she says. “And it was, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if something was coming out of the rock here?’ and ‘Oh look, there’s another rock over there.’ And then, ‘Oh hey, this is a perfect place for hide-and-seek. Do you guys remember playing Capture the Flag?’

“And it evolved from there.”

The sculptures are designed to last for a very long time – Boyd notes cement bridges have a half-life of about 90 years.

“It’s cement, there’s steel inside, but it’s totally encased, it’s not going to rust for a very long time,” she says. “We design them to be people-friendly, and our hope is that they will grow mosses and lichen and grow even further into the surroundings.

“It’s really amazing,” she says of the notion that these sculptures will outlast their creators. “I just have a huge amount of gratitude for the place we live that allows us to do that.”

It’s the third in the ‘Discover the Koots’ series, with other installations in Castlegar and Meadow Creek. The project was sponsored by the Kaslo Outdoor Recreation and Trails Society, and funded with help from the Columbia Basin Trust Public Art Grants and an online GoFundMe campaign.

Boyd says the trio isn’t done with their playful creations yet. They plan another installation in Slocan village, at the head of the Slocan Valley Rail Trail this fall. They hope eventually to create a series of sculpture installations in other communities across the West Kootenay.

The idea is to create a world-class sculpture circuit to be discovered by people hiking, biking, canoeing or kayaking in the region. The group will use promotion and geocaching of the ‘Koots,’ as they call the figures, to inspire public art touring for years to come.

— Valley Voice


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